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Discussion Forums

Seating & Space
Capacity Planning

No business event is going to be successful if you’re seated in the lap of the person next to you! Yuck! Who planned this meeting?

On of the most common mistakes in planning corporate banquets, buffets and social events is to fail to leave enough room for comfortable seating or standing. That mistake, alone, can ruin an otherwise successful event.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just use these easy guidelines in determining available space.

Table Selection & Seating Capacity
for Banquets, Meetings and Buffets

  1. Cocktail tables—pedestal type
    24" round; 30" round; 36" round--
    Each will seat 2 to 6 persons, depending on use.
  2. Card tables
    30x30—Each seats 4 comfortably.
  3. Banquet tables
    6x30—Each seats 6-8
    8x30—Each seats 8-10
    (Also, try 1/4 round serpentines and 1/2 rounds. These are aesthetically pleasing and allow for different arrangements.)
  4. Round tables
    48"—Each seats 6-8
    60"—Each seats 8-10
    72"—Each seats 10-12

Party Seating and Space Information

Cocktail parties ( guests standing up) 5 to 6 sq. ft per person
Cocktail parties (some guests seated; others standing) 8 sq. ft. per person
Reception, tea type (some seated) 8 sq. ft. per person
Dinner, using oblong tables 8 sq. ft. per person
Dinner, using round tables of 6, 8 and 12 12 sq. ft. per person
Cathedral seating (rows) 6 sq. ft. per person
Dance area 2-4 sq. ft. per person

Seating Arrangements

  1. Banquet Style
    Aside from main traffic areas, allow 54" between round tables for chair and service space and 60" between oblong tables where seating is back-to-back. This permits 24" service space behind 18" chair depth.
  2. Classroom Style or Theater Style
    Where food service is not required and seating is at one side of the table, allow 36" between tables. While this may vary with degree of aisle comfort required, 36" distance between rows of chairs will suffice.

Important Rules of Thumb

For Banquet Style seating

To determine the number of people your room will accommodate, do the following:
When using oblong tables, divide the room area (sq. ft.) by 8. When using round tables, divide the room area by (sq. ft.) by 10. These figures are for maximum seating. If space is available for more comfortable seating, allow an additional 2 square feet per person.

For Classroom style seating: divide the "student" seating area (sq. ft.) by 8

For Theater style seating: divide "spectator" seating area (sq. ft.) by 6

This method of figuring allows for chair and passage aisles. It does not allow for problems caused by wide traffic aisles, location of columns, service doors or unique room shapes. It is very useful, however, for a quick, general approximation.

 Return to our Corporate Event Party Planning Guide


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